Gary Patterson is getting some more respect after yet another double-digit win season at TCU.
Patterson made a big jump in the annual college football coach ranking tiers from CBS Sports’ Ben Kercheval. In 2017, Kercheval ranked Patterson No. 2 in the “Program Builders” tier, behind Kansas State’s Bill Snyder. After an 11-3 record last year, Kercheval moved the TCU coach up into the “Proven Winners” tier, and he ranked him No. 1 in that group.
From CBS Sports:
Many of these coaches were on this tier a year ago. One major addition is Patterson, and he shot straight to the top. In many ways, Patterson could be considered a program builder. He’s one of the longest-tenured coaches in college football and overseen TCU’s rise from mid-major giant killer to perennial Big 12 title contender by reinventing himself offensively while maintaining strong defenses. But the Horned Frogs have been in the Big 12 long enough now that there’s nothing left to build. Patterson has won at least 11 games in three of the past four seasons, won a share of the Big 12 title in 2014 and got to the Big 12 Championship Game this past season. He’s winning on the recruiting trail, too, by pulling in more top-25 classes with blue-chip recruits.
Patterson is entering his 18th season as TCU’s head coach, and he’s successfully led the program from mid-major obscurity to become a perennial top-10 contender. As Kercheval says, there’s not much building left to do. Instead, Patterson is simply maintaining success, even at the Power 5 level.
It should be noted that the tiers are independent of one another because they are graded on different criteria. There are eight coaches in the two tiers ahed of “Proven Winners,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean Kercheval is saying Patterson is the No. 9 coach in the country. Instead, he’s ranking Patterson as the best among other coaches like him, such as Chris Petersen, Gus Malzahn and Mike Gundy.
This stems, again, from the idea that different jobs have different benchmarks for success. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and UAB’s Bill Clark aren’t coaching for the same things, and they aren’t building their programs the same way. I’m not going to try to stack them against one another.
The main thing keeping Patterson out of one of the top two tiers is where he coaches. He doesn’t run a traditional “blue-blood” program like like Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma or James Franklin at Penn State, and he’s not competing for a national championship on almost an annual basis like Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney.
If Patterson were to move up further in the rankings, it would probably mean winning an outright Big 12 title or two, and making the College Football Playoff. He’s come close to both those goals in recent years, so he may not be done rising in the ranks.
[h/t CBS Sports]